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NFL Draft Preview: Running Backs

  • previews the NFL Draft position-by-position, with a focus on some of the top rookie prospects available in the April 29-30 NFL Draft. Thursday: Running Backs*

The Redskins appear set at the running back position, with Clinton Portis leading the way. Backups Ladell Betts and Rock Cartwright have both produced 100-yard rushing games in their NFL careers, and fullback Mike Sellers is a versatile blocker and pass-catcher. Young backs Jesse Lumsden and Kerry Carter have promise, while second-year fullbacks Manual White, Jr., and Nehemiah Broughton are prospects who may get a close look this offseason.

The 2006 NFL Draft is deep in running backs, with four potential elite backs expected to go in the first round. Given the Redskins' depth in the backfield, it would be surprising if they selected a running back in the draft.

Redskins Draft History: The Redskins have had success drafting running backs in later rounds. In 1969, the team picked up Larry Brown in the eighth round with the 191st overall selection. In 1996, the Redskins drafted Stephen Davis in the fourth round with the 102nd overall pick.

Top Prospects

There's Bush, and then there's everybody else. Bush led the Trojans with 1,740 yards on 200 carries--that's 8.7 yards per carry--and 16 touchdowns. He also caught 37 passes for 478 yards. A potential franchise player, the 6-2, 200-pound speedster is expected to be the draft's top overall selection--to Houston, unless the Texans decide to trade the pick.

While Bush was the slashing, Marshall Faulk-type back for the Trojans, White was the bulldozing, Jerome Bettis-type back. At 6-1 and 235 pounds, he should help a team with a power rushing attack. He rushed for 1,302 yards on 197 carries and 24 touchdowns last season. His draft stock seems to be slipping of late due to a moderate hamstring injury that kept him from working at USC's Pro Day.

Williams is another slashing-style running back who is smallish at 5-8 and 208 pounds. But scouts say he uses his size to his benefit and has all the tools to make an impact in the NFL. He rushed for 1,959 yards on 309 carries and 18 touchdowns. He may need to work on his receiving skills to better fit with most NFL offenses, however.

Maroney, at 5-11 and 205 pounds, has been compared to Clinton Portis. Scouts say he is explosive and has outstanding body control. He logged 281 rushes for 1,464 yards and 10 touchdowns last season. He also will need to improve his receiving skills--he had just 17 receptions last year--to better fit into NFL offenses.

#### Second-Round Prospects

Addai is thought to be a prototype West Coast offense-type running back because he is a home-run threat as a runner and is adept at catching passes out of the backfield. The 5-11, 208-pounder rushed for 911 yards on 187 carries and logged nine touchdowns last season.

Calhoun had an outstanding season for the Badgers last season, rushing for 1636 yards on 348 carries and logging 22 touchdowns. He is 5-10 and 195 pounds. Some scouts believe he could be a third-down or change-of-pace back in the pros.

Late-Round Possibilities

Mills is 6-0 and 236 pounds who played tight end in college but his lack of height could force him to play fullback or H-back in the pros. He should be a solid receiver coming out of the backfield. His stock rose after a strong performance at the Senior Bowl last January.

Somewhat undersized at 5-7 and 210 pounds, Washington has battled injuries in his college career but has remained productive. He logged 430 rushing yards and three touchdowns on 97 carries last season.

Bell, at 6-0 and 218 pounds, could develop into a feature back but is thought to be too much of a straight-line runner. He rushed for 952 yards on 200 carries and five touchdowns for the Wildcats last season.

Cedric Humes, Virginia Tech

Humes is a big back who at 6-0 and 227 pounds will move piles. Although he led the Hokies with 752 rushing yards and 11 touchdowns last season, he never developed into the team's feature back.

The son of former Redskins running back Gerald Riggs (1989-91), Riggs is a 6-0, 215-pound power back who logged 530 yards and three touchdowns on 127 carries last season. His senior season was cut short due to an ankle injury.

Lundy, at 5-10 and 214 pounds, could develop into a powerful short-yardage back. He logged 574 yards on 144 carries and 10 touchdowns last season. He has been fumble-prone, however.

Mike Imoh, Virginia Tech

Imoh attended the Redskins' local college workout at Redskins Park on April 7. He is small at 5-6 and 195 pounds and is a cut-back style of runner. He could be valuable as a kick return specialist.

#### Other RBs to Watch

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